Keki Nasserwanji Daruwalla by Bijay Kant Dubey
Adil Jussawalla, K.D.Katrak, Keki N. Daruwalla and Gieve Patel,
The poets who form a Parsi quartet,
Adil the missing person,
K.D.Katrak the misjudged fellow
And Gieve Patel’s hardly available
And Keki N.Daruwalla’s presence
As for publications and awards.
Keki N. Daruwalla, a police officer and that too a superintendent of police
From Indian Police Service,
Making a way into the realms of creative poesy,
Attempting to eke out a name
And what he saw as a police officer, he recorded in his poetry,
Very-very subjective and impressive enough
To register his presence.
A Parsi by faith, he has own ethos and milieu to look up to,
Zoroaster and his Zoroastrianism,
Zarathustra, Ahirmnan and Ahurmazda,
The fire temples and the towers of silence
To take a lesson from,
In religion and ethics
And he cannot leaving these,
A Parsi poet from Lahore, but settled in here.
An M.A. in English, he seems to be a tragedian,
Which but I do not know it,
What had it been his special paper,
But as a poet he is no doubt a police officer
With a stout and brave-manly heart of his,
Leaving not any scope for sentimentality.
He has never learnt to shed tears or to be sad and painted
And depressed and gloomy,
Always with the double-barrelled gun
Or the revolver by his waist-side,
Hearing the call of the wild
With hyennas giving the call
Or in the curfew-clamps towns
Marking mob furies and violence,
The flames of which burning it all
In hatred and vengeance.
The dead body is the thing of his observation and scrutiny,
The place of accident the site of his,
Bloodshed, violence, curfew, violence, murder, suicide
The topics of his poetry,
Diarrhoea, plague, cholera, typhoid
The things of his poetry,
The British-period cholera wards, the T.B. wards, the malaria wards
The wards of his poetry
And he marking all these without tears into the eyes
As this happens, happens and takes place,
The dead body lying at the police station for the post-mortem
To be sent off as for the autopsy report.
A poet of tragedy, human tragedy and this tragic living,
He broods over the causes of tragedy,
Why do the accidents take place
And what can but condolences do to,
How to console the bereaved self,
As nothing to confide in?
A poet of natural calamities, he sees pre-destined humanity and living
In terms of floods, droughts and famines,
The floods inundating the river-banks and embankments,
Flood waters swirling and swallowing,
With the furies of their own.
The birds sitting on the abattoir,
The vultures feeding and feasting upon carcasses into the fields
Or atop the those houses,
The kites encircling and the hawks aiming at,
The natural, but catalytic scenery of his,
The man-eaters moving about
And the snarls and howls engaging the space,
Inhabiting the landscape.
Catharsis, hamartia, hubris and peripeteia
The code-words of his poetry,
Poetry speaking the language of the rifles stuttering and tottering,
The gun-shots being fired at
And shells hitting,
Blood spilling through
And he seeing all that in his own,
Human tragedy taking a toll over,
Calamity shattering it all unsaid
And the gloom darkening. .
Blood oozes out
And he views all that callously, cruelly
Without any pity or pathos,
But the eve darkening and desolate pulls him back
And he hears the conscience advising,
It’s time to go home and attend to
Rather than being in the woods full of the calls of the beasts and brutes,
The bloody and beastly creatures.
The wild cat running with the fowl not,
The jackal trying to bite off the goat not,
The leopard sneaking into,
The lion thundering,
Roaring in the distant hills
And the cow in the shed shrinking.
A poet hard heart and tougher talks,
Daruwalla prefers the dramatic monologue,
The interior scape
Rather than the exterior,
Outwardly the poems appear to be terse and verbose
But they an inner lyricality no doubt.
As a poet, he is a shisya of Charkava,
Who says to take clarified butter even by borrowing from in credit,
And such an epicurean philosophy matches him,
One of the side of Karna
As Adil Jussawalla is of the side of Ekalavya.
An IPS and a RAW additional director,
He is a poet of some psychological and sociological observation,
Historical, subjective and impressionistic,
A tragedian as a poet,
Marking Nature red in tooth and claw in Tennysonian terms.
The beauty of the woods lovely, deep and dark not
As says Robert Frost,
The call of the treacherous and impregnable wild
With the howls and shrieks
Of the beastly, bloody and brutal animals
Telling of the dangers lying ahead
As for daring, stepping deep into the wild tract.
A Valmiki not, but a mariner of Coleridge
Sensing it all after the killing of the albatross and the forebodings
Brought on by its death,
The protagonist feeling it after the kill of the bird
As per the advice of the female companion.
The vultures sitting atop the Towers of Silence
With their metaphysics and community rites,
The Zoroastrians doing away with the dead,
They too have a philosophy to give and to pass on
Which we need to know them.
The Fire Temples with the Fire Hymns
And the Holy Fire burning within
Tell of an ancient faith and its tradition,
Belief and standing
Sustained and survived through the ages.
Daruwalla as a poet makes his way into the realms of poesy
With his books Under Orion and Apparition in April
To be punctuated and followed by more,
Such as Crossing of the Dead, Winter Poems and The Keeper of the Dead
To embolden his stance as a poet.
A Ted Hughes,
As both of them go trading on the hawk,
The falconer using it as a trap,
Not the Shelleyian or the Wordsworthian skylark,
Masculine-masculine and hurly-burly.
A Robert Browning,
Daruwalla is a master craftsman of monologues,
Tougher exterior, but softer interior,
Words cryptic and curtailed
But with an internal rhyme scheme.
The sentimental mind not,
The unsentimental heart as the spokesman,
The case with Daruwalla,
A Hughes but without Sylvia Plath,
Daruwalla as the Browningian duke talking with the last duchess
In his poetry,
Poetry as the fire and the shriek of the bird,
Silenced for ever.